Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Nour El Sherbini holds on to Carol Weymuller title

Linda Elriani with champion Nour El Sherbini and runner-up Alison Waters
Linda Elriani with champion Nour El Sherbini and runner-up Alison Waters

Alison Waters loses out in Brooklyn battle
By LINDA ELRIANI in Brooklyn 


World No.1 Nour El Sherbini captured the Carol Weymuller Open, PSA W50 title for a second successive year after an assured display from the 20-year-old Egyptian saw her defeat 2014 winner Alison Waters at the Heights Casino in Brooklyn.

 El Sherbini, the reigning World Champion, breezed through to the final without dropping a game and defeated England’s Sarah-Jane Perry to book her place in the showpiece finale.

Waters, meanwhile, came up with arguably the performance of the tournament in her semi-final fixture to overcome recent Delaware Investments U.S. Open winner Camille Serme in a blistering five-game battle.

It was the Englishwoman who lead the head-to-head record between the pair 4-2 coming into the match, but El Sherbini stormed out of the traps to hold a 6-1 lead in game one, only to see Waters fight back to claim game balls on two occasions.

A determined El Sherbini came back though to take it on the tie-break and, despite even starts to the second and third games, the Egyptian pulled away in both to wrap up a 13-11, 11-6, 11-3 victory to capture her first PSA World Tour title since she became World Champion in April.

“It’s a thrill to defend my title again this year after winning it last year, and that was the start of a really special season,” said El Sherbini.

“Let’s hope that this will be the start of a special season again this year.”

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It’s been a tremendous week of squash and the PSA players have definitely left everyone inspired and motivated. The tournament is obviously named after Carol Weymuller herself. Carol started the junior squash program here at The Heights Casino many years back with her husband Fred and it has obviously grown and expanded along with the sport. We always like to thank Carol for all her hard work and dedication back at the start, as we wouldn’t be where we are today with our program if she had not been forward thinking enough to develop squash in this area.

At 7.30pm the bleachers were packed with eager members, anticipating the outcome. Our 2016 finalists were Alison Waters from England and she is the 2014 Carol Weymuller Champion and former world # 3, and Nour El Sherbini from Egypt, is the world champion and world #1. Both players looked bouncy and eager to go on knowing this was their last huge effort after a very successful and tiring week at the Weymuller.

Nour and Alison will go off to other countries to play other tournaments soon. They will both be competing in the World Team Championships the first week of December in Paris, France. With the England and Egyptian teams being two of the stronger squash nationals, especially with the amazing depth of each team, they may be playing again soon!

England are the defending World Team champions so maybe they can bring home the trophy once again. Their next big PSA event will be back in NYC for the TOC in Grand Central Station January, so we are lucky to all these amazing players back in the town in the near future.

They last played at the US Open 10 days earlier where Nour came away the victor, but Ali won in a momentous five setter at the TOC in 2015, so it would be very interesting see which player could come away the Champ tonight.

This match was going to be particularly interesting as both players, whilst very much on-form, play very different styles. Ali plays a very fast, precise and attacking game, stepping forward on the court and has more traditional tactics of cutting the ball off around the T.

Nour varies the pace more and goes short with wonderful creative shots at almost every opportunity and tries to twist and turn her opponent and take away their rhythm. Who was going to manage to force their game plan over the other? We would soon find out.

Nour came out in the first one game fire and with a couple of strokes against Ali too, she was very soon 6-1 up. Ali seemed to settle in more and with a couple of errors from Nour and Ali fading a wonderful slow backhand drop into the front she climbed back to 4-6. A push from Nour gave her back a big margin five point margin to 9-4.

After a decision from the ref that Ali wasn’t too keen on she suddenly start pushing up the court, taking the ball much earlier and slotting in some amazing shot shorts. Nour’s lengths were a little on the short side and Ali took complete advantage of them. Ali stormed through to take the next six point in a row, showing us just how skillful and deceptive she can be.

At 10-9 Ali had her first game ball and Nour took away her chance with a perfect cross court drive that died in the back to equalize at 10-10. It then got a little tense and there were a series of let balls until Ali managed to hit a hard, flat drive past Nour to give her the second chance at 11-10 to win the first game. After a long rally Nour got a dubious stroke to get her back even 11-11.

Another long and hard fought rally and Ali made a wrong shot choice to set Nour up on the forehand to smack the ball down the wall away from her. This gave Nour her first game ball and in true Nour style she played her game ball unflinchingly and even finished the point with a perfect flick crosscourt over to the forehand that left Ali stranded on the backhand. Nour took the first 13-11.

The second game started evenly with both players trying hard to control the middle of the court, playing some delightful and exciting squash and it stayed pretty even until 6-5. Nour then surged ahead with some wonderful and creative winners that Ali desperately tried to stop but to no avail. Nour went through to win the second game 11-6 with a perfect backhand drop.

The third started with some long and hard fought rallies with flashes of excellence from Ali, but she just couldn’t manage to contain the skillful and light-footed Nour. Nour really had an answer for everything that Ali threw at her!

Ali had had two five-set matches to bring her through to the final and it was now that maybe it was taking its toll on her and showing through some errors, but she still kept hanging in there and fighting for each point. Nour is looking fitter than ever and really is such a fearless competitor and mature beyond her years.

Nour was almost getting better and better as the third game went on and with a number of very impressive flicks, dying lengths and drops she went straight through from 4-3 to 11-3 in one hand to become the much deserved 2016 Carol Weymuller Champion.

After the final I interviewed the very happy Nour. She said “It’s a thrill to defend my title again this year after winning it last year and that was the start of a really special season, so let’s hope that this will be the start of a special season again this year!”

When I asked Nour if she gets nervous before she plays, she said, “Yes, I get a little nervous before all my matches, but once I’m on the court I’m OK and I just have fun!”

Well, we can see that this is the case and we have certainly had a lot of fun too watching Nour in action too.
PSA W50 Carol Weymuller Open 2016, Heights Casino, Brooklyn, New York, USA.

[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [3] Alison Waters (ENG) 3-0: 13-11, 11-6, 11-3 (40m) 

[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 12-10, 11-8, 11-4 (35m)
[3] Alison Waters (ENG) bt [2] Camille Serme (FRA) 11-9, 10-12, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8 (65m)

[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [Q] Olivia Blatchford (USA) 11-9, 11-4, 11-4
[7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt [4] Joshna Chinappa (IND) 11-6, 11-6, 11-3
[3] Alison Waters (ENG) bt [5] Joelle King (NZL) 11-4, 6-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7
[2] Camille Serme (FRA) bt [6] Annie Au (HKG) 11-3, 11-7, 11-8

1st round:
[1] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [Q] Kanzy Emad El Defrawy (EGY) 11-8, 11-6, 11-8
[Q] Olivia Blatchford (USA) bt [8] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 11-5, 11-6, 11-6
[7] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) bt [Q] Mariam Metwally (EGY) 11-6, 11-4, 11-4
[4] Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt [Q] Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) 12-10, 11-9, 11-8
[3] Alison Waters (ENG) bt Delia Arnold (MAS) 11-5, 11-2, 11-3
[5] Joelle King (NZL) bt Donna Urquhart (AUS) 13-11, 3-11, 12-10, 11-9
[6] Annie Au (HKG) bt [WC] Haley Mendez (USA) 11-4, 7-11, 11-2, 11-5
[2] Camille Serme (FRA) bt Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND) 11-8, 7-11, 11-3, 13-11

Qualifying finals:
Kanzy Emad El Defrawy (EGY) bt Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) 5-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-9
Mariam Metwally (EGY) bt Samantha Teran (MEX) 12-10, 16-14, 11-8
Olivia Blatchford (USA) bt Millie Tomlinson (ENG) 10-12, 3-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-1
Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) bt Tesni Evans (WAL) 11-7, 13-11, 11-9

1st qualifying round:
Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) bt Christine Nunn (AUS) 11-8, 11-4, 11-6
Kanzy Emad El Defrawy (EGY) bt Maria Toorpakai Wazir (PAK) 11-8, 11-5, 11-6
Samantha Teran (MEX) bt Emilia Soini (FIN) 11-3, 11-8, 11-5
Mariam Metwally (EGY) bt Jessica Davis (ENG) 11-7, 11-4, 11-3
Olivia Blatchford (USA) bt Samantha Cornett (CAN) 11-5, 7-11, 8-11, 11-5, 12-10
Millie Tomlinson (ENG) bt Colette Sultana (MLT) 11-2, 11-3, 11-5
Salma Hany Ibrahim (EGY) bt Nouran El Torky (EGY) 12-14, 11-6, 11-5, 15-13
Tesni Evans (WAL) bt Chloe Mesic (FRA) 11-4, 11-3, 11-7

Pictures by JEAN ERVASTI 


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